Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad did it again.
After a Mossad team of about 100 men stole a large portion of Iran's secret nuclear archive from a warehouse in the suburbs of Tehran in the middle of the night in January 2018 and, after the Mossad sabotaged a new uranium facility at Natanz 10 months ago the plant was again targeted by the Mossad a week ago.
This time the electricity grid and cable infrastructure of the nuclear plant were targeted causing extensive damage to thousands of centrifuges according to the Iranians who were quick to blame Israel for the “ nuclear terror”.
The bomb that exploded in the underground facility in Natanz put the Islamic Republic's nuclear program back by at least nine months according to experts. Iran had purposely built Natanz's power plant underground, but this move failed to prevent the Mossad from blowing up the power grid.
European sources first claimed it had been a cyberattack, but sources in Iran later confirmed that a remote-controlled explosive device had been used to blow up Natanz's power grid.
The incident took place a day after Iran proudly announced it had started using two new types of centrifuges, the IR-5 and the IR-6 at Natanz.
Experts now think that the blackout destroyed mainly the thousands of old IR-1 centrifuges which are based on a Pakastani model.
The incident in Iran took place a few hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel for talks with the Israeli government.
Austin’s body language suggested he felt embarrassed after Israel failed to inform the Biden Administration before the Mossad operation as was done in the past. Austin, however, kept his cool and didn’t say much about the blast in Natanz.
Fresh talks between the United States and Iran The US administration of President Joe Biden with the Ayatollahs in Tehran began a week before the sabotage in Natanz took place.
These indirect talks in Vienna aim to return both the United States (US) and Iran to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA) between the Islamic Republic and six world powers.
The US withdrew from the agreement with Iran in 2018, after which ex-President Donald J. Trump introduced a range of new sanctions against Iran while restoring old sanctions that had been lifted by the Obama Administration.
This was the beginning of the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign and Trump took these decisions after he had received intelligence about the archives the Mossad had stolen in Tehran.
After the US left the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, the nuclear deal, Iran also began to evade its obligations under the JCPOA and began enriching uranium to 20 percent.
The Islamic Republic now has a stockpile of over 1,000 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent while enrichment up to 3.5 percent was permitted under the JCPOA.
After the attack on Natanz, the government of Iran announced that it would now start to enrich uranium to 60 percent. To build a nuclear weapon Iran needs to enrich uranium up to 90 percent so it tries to shorten break-out time.
Iran has always maintained that its nuclear program was peaceful in nature and that it needed low enriched uranium for energy purposes and scientific research. Enriching uranium to 60 percent is another indication that Iran has been lying about its nuclear program all the time.
Israel has consistently said that Iran was developing nuclear weapons as evidenced by the stolen nuclear archive and the fact that Tehran is developing long-range ballistic missiles that are only useful when equipped with a nuclear warhead.
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), furthermore, discovered that Iran had been conducting tests on the Parchin base with detonators for nuclear warheads and later found out there were some sites in Iran that were also related to Iran's nuclear program and had not been declared by the regime.
What is clear from the new attack on Natanz is that the Mossad has a strong presence in Iran and is likely receiving help from opposition members in the country.
Last year, a large Mossad team along with members of Iran's opposition assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the founder of Iran's nuclear program and the leader of the team working on the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
After every Mossad action in Iran, the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promises to retaliate, but so far Iran has limited itself to attacks on Israeli-owned ships in the Persian Gulf.
Israel, in turn, is sabotaging illegal oil shipments from Iran to Syria and recently attacked a ship belonging to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Persian Gulf. The ship was used for intelligence gathering and was only slightly damaged by a Limpet mine.
Iranian media reported last week that Iran had attacked Mossad targets in northern Iraq through Shia militias sponsored by the Islamic Republic.
The safe-house in the undisclosed location in Iraq was used by the Mossad for actions in Iran according to the Iranian media
Since those media relied on a report by Fars News and Sabereen News, two regime-controlled news agencies that regularly spread propaganda, the story must be taken with a grain of salt.
Israel has been unusually open about the new Mossad action in Iran this time with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Aviv Kochavi, the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff giving strong hints that Israel was behind the attack on Natanz.
Kochavi spoke of "complex and sophisticated actions to protect Israel."
Netanyahu said after the incident that the struggle against Iran and its proxies as well as the weapons produced by the Islamic Republic is “a huge mission” while adding the situation as it exists today could not be tomorrow's reality.
The Israeli leader was immediately criticized by opponents for using a highly secretive and sensitive Mossad operation for his own narrow political purposes such as the forming of a new government that would again be led by him.
In Iran there are now senior officials who are strongly criticizing the functioning of the security apparatus and are now pushing for thorough reforms.
The Islamist regime, meanwhile, on Sunday announced it had identified the main culprit behind the smuggling of the remote-controlled explosive device and said the man, Reza Karimi, fled Iran prior to the blast at Natanz.
Another state-controlled TV station in Iran claimed that a man by the name of Ershad Karimi, the owner of Mehr engineering company had been identified as the person responsible for the blast in Natanz.
So, it seems that the regime in Tehran is trying to create the image that it is in full control of the situation and uses once again lies and propaganda to restore confidence among the Iranian public.
The Mossad action in Natanz was a clear signal to the Iranian regime that Israel is watching Iran’s nuclear activities and knows how to disrupt progress in Iran’s race to obtain a nuclear weapon without resorting to conventional military action such as airstrikes.
The timing of the operation in Natanz can also be seen as a clear signal to the new US Administration that Israel sees the renewed talks with Iran as useless and indeed feels it is not bound to any new agreement as Netanyahu said almost two weeks ago.
The Israeli PM also made clear at the time, that Israel reserves the right to take action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program regardless of the new negotiations with the Islamic Republic.